Happily Ever After
Life in The Rural Retreat with a beautiful wife, three cats, garden wildlife, a camera, a computer – and increasing amounts about running
Suffering In Yorkshire
by Russell Turner - 12:02 on 15 October 2018
I seem to be cursed with contrasts: the London Marathon took place in record heat; yesterday’s Yorkshire Marathon was beset by heavy rain and light rain – mostly heavy – during its entire length. My cold was just the icing on the cake. In April, many runners were treated for heatstroke; yesterday, paramedics were called to several fallen runners who I guess were hypothermia victims. Silver space blankets were much in evidence.
Despite all that, I knocked 38 minutes off my London time to finish in 5:48:16 – 54th in my age group (out of 58), and in 4,048th position out of 4,229 recorded finishers. The last couple were home in 7:24. I now know for certain that I’d rather run in heat than heavy rain.
The run began damp but acceptable. I followed Matchgirl’s advice and didn’t worry about all the people rushing past me during the first, downhill, mile. Outside the Minster I received enthusiastic waves from Matchgirl and UltraPaul, who’d seen Triathlon Cathy go through a few minutes earlier. I must have missed the archbishop in the crowd, which was a decent size despite the weather.
I took my first one-minute walk break during the third mile and stuck with the plan through Heworth, Stockton, Sand Hutton and Buttercrambe Woods. Knots of musicians and spectators braved the weather, but even before halfway I’d passed the first group of shivering, space blanket-swathed retired runners waiting for transport to warmer climes.
At Stamford Bridge, 14 miles into the 26.2, I still had running. Mum, Soo and Matchgirl were there to urge me on, which helped, but the going got tougher after that, with the wide open spaces of the A166 to come. My not-quite-waterproof jacket was proving inadequate and having chosen not to wear my long-sleeved windproof top (because I thought I’d be too warm – doh!) all I had underneath was a running vest and T-shirt. How the runners in nothing but a vest coped is beyond me.
I forgot to stop my watch after crossing the line, hence the extra couple of minutes.
My running came to an end around Mile 17, near Dunnington. The cardio was fine but a persistent ache in what Matchgirl later identified as the adductor in my dodgy leg proved incompatible with running, although a forced march was doable. This was appropriate, because ahead and behind me I could see a straggle of toiling marathoneers re-enacting Napoleon’s Retreat From Moscow, although without the snow, and with no roadside spectators to help them.
I didn’t doubt I could finish (although why I was bothering did creep into my mind a couple of times) so I put the head down, ignored the rain and trudged on, passing a few runners on the way through Holtby, Murton, Osbaldwick and on to the University Campus which was start and finish of the marathon. By now some serious shivering was going on.
Coming up towards the finish line I received cheers from UltraPaul and Triathlon Cathy, who looked disgustingly chipper for someone who’d finished more than 90 minutes earlier, then a little further on there was a welcome hug from Matchgirl. I trudged another 100 yards, ran the last 50 (or possibly 10), raising a huge cheer from the crowd who’d stayed to watch the also-rans, and tottered across the line. I’d made it, and had another medal and a gaudy blue running shirt to prove it.
In London, an easier course with support all the way round, I’d finished relatively fresh and would have done it all again the next day; this time I was shattered, shivering, and finding it increasingly difficult to walk on my right leg. Fortunately I had enough energy left to reach the university gates where Paul and Cathy drove us back to our flat.
At the moment I feel that if this had been my first marathon it would also be my last, but doubtless in a few days’ time, when the aches have subsided, I’ll just remember the achievement of finishing two marathons inside six months.
But now it’s time for a proper rest: no more running for at least two weeks, probably three, then an easy jog through November and December until training begins for the next London Marathon, when I expect to be hit by floods or plagues of locusts. At the least.
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